Garden of Forgiveness
This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (April 2020)
Entering through an enclosed water garden, the visitor descends into layers from the city’s past, crossing terraces of olive and fruit trees.
It is surrounded by places of worship belonging to different denominations, and reveals many layers of Beirut’s past. The two main streets of the Roman city of Berytus, the Cardo and Decumanus Maximus, were discovered here. Their shaded colonnades became busy markets on festival days. At other times, the streets would have been frequented by Law School students and citizens passing to the Forum or visiting temples and churches.
During excavations, a sacred platform dating from Phoenico-Persian times was found below the crossing of the Cardo and Decumanus Maximus. The Mamluk-Ottoman layers of this district revealed the sites of various religious cults within a network of narrow alleys. In the late 19th century, straight shopping streets replaced the alleys, while the sites of religious worship were enlarged and became prestigious monuments. Embedded in the fabric of Souk al-Nouriyyeh, the Sayyidat al-Nouriyyeh chapel, once a place of worship attended by Lebanese citizens from various confessions, did not survive the Lebanese Civil War. It has been rebuilt as a stand-alone chapel on its original site, now overlooking the Garden of Forgiveness.
The area was classified as non aedificandi, not to be built, in the Master Plan of the Beirut City Center. In 1998, the winning design of Gustafson Porter brought together different aspects of Lebanon’s ancient heritage and rich landscapes, thus emphasizing national unity.
- Curvers, Hans H. and Stuart, Barbara (2007) “The BCD Archaeology Project, 2000-2006”, Bulletin d’Archéologie et d’Architecture Libanaises 9: 189-221.
- Hadiqat as-Samah (2000) Brochure Solidere, Beirut.
- Saghieh-Beydoun, Muntaha, ‘Allam, Mahmoud, ‘Ala’Eddine, Abdallah and Abulhosn, Sana (1998-9) “The Monumental Street ‘Cardo Maximus’ and the Replanning of Roman Berytus”, Bulletin d’Archéologie et d’Architecture Libanaises 3:95-126.
- Plans and descriptions, Gustafson Porter + Bowman